tv Oral Histories CSPAN April 5, 2015 9:00am-10:03am EDT
john: i came to be the legislative advisor and lobbyist for kissinger, really by default because there was no such thing on the national security council at the time when we came in. and when dick, and i was assistant to dick, when he took over the base, the overall pace study, ---based study, that was all full of congressional relations because the subcommittee, the foreign affairs committee was holding a series of hearings, a major series of hearings on foreign commitments and overseas commitments of which the bases were seem to be -- seen to be a central part. so i became by default when dick
left, the base study was my portfolio. so i found myself spending half of my time on the hill on what became a major onslaught against the administration's the vietnam policy. this was sort of the forum for the end the war group at the time. and so gradually, since i was the only one doing that, anything that came up having to do with congress ended up on my desk. it was an opportunity for me because dick kaegel had a big portfolio when he left and everybody else was so busy in the national security council with their own portfolios that
suddenly when dick departed i was the only guy there with the inbox. so i ended up working on all of the classified issues, the war powers amendment and the european troop level reductions initiatives. it became a very busy time. it was a great experience for me. it was a great opportunity because by default i was the congressional relations person. and i stayed as henry's hill advisor for, until he left the white house, basically. >> you mentioned that you are a naval reserve officer and went to the white house. timothy: -- john: that is right.
i was a naval reserve officer and i became an aviator. i did my summer active duty in vietnam every year i was on the national security staff. it was invaluable to me. because i could both get to where i wanted to go, where the action was, and yet i could not get the snow jobs and the party line had i been a vip and a, or senior officer. it was very valuable to me. alex haig would've pointed me in the direction that he wanted to check things out. so i would get assigned to a
naval unit. sometimes the marines, once or twice to army units. that were in the action. because it gave me an opportunity to really get a feel from the troops' point of view rather than the vip visiting fireman point of view. certainly those experiences impressed me very much. because by the time i went, my first trip over there was the summer of 1969. and by then vietnam is asian -- vietnamization was in full sling. it was not as if there hadn't been -- with the nixon administration had adopted was the point of view of many young thinkers in the army and more senior ones like john paul van who had been advocating this.
so it was in full swing by the time i first got there. so it gave me a chance each year to see the progress or lack of progress that was going on. and really by 1972 i was over there during the eastern -- easter offensive. there was no doubt in my mind -- particularly when i was over there in august of 72 -- that vietnamization had worked. i saw firsthand the vietnamese army, the 22nd division, the 21st division, throw back what was purely a conventional attack.
the guerrilla war was over, after tet, they had really shot their best bolt. after the tet offensive it became much more of a conventional war. in the 72 it was a conventional invasion by armored forces across the dmz. initially because it had been such a surprise, it rolled back the south vietnamese forces. by then all of the u.s. forces were out except for the air support being given from the carriers and from the type -- the u.s. air force bases. but the vietnamese regroup. starting in april, the north had pushed the south all the way down into the central high lands and had taken them. by august they were pushing the north vietnamese out of vietnam. they were defeating them.
beating them in battle after battle. they pushed them back. i was there during the battle of -- they took that early on. and i spent a week with the vietnamese marines and they retook that in a very bloody hand-to-hand combat. they defeated the north the enemy's army with of course -- the me's army with of course -- the enemies -- vietnamese army with of course north american airpower support. it was very clear to everybody there in the u.s. advisory group that it had succeeded. there were continuing problems with corruption and political generals.
but for the most part the generals were there because they were proven fighters. they really did quite a remarkable job. then i was back the following summer in 73. and then in 74, when the rug had been pulled out by congress, it was the most searing and troubling experience i have ever had in the government. because we really, i felt, as i think did everybody involved, from kissinger on down, it was hard for me to spend three weeks over there with the vietnamese air force and the vietnamese army, who had the rug pulled out from under them. having won militarily on the
ground, to have congress cut off not just american military support, because that had already been withdrawn. but to cut off the funds, to prohibit ammunition and any support whatsoever, cutting off spare parts to the vietnamese air force that we had just outfitted. it was a searing experience. because -- i remember i was up in the central highlands at a fire support base and over the valley i could see through the binoculars the north vietnamese building the highway so their tanks could go down south through the valley. i said why aren't you guys firing at these guys. they said because we are down to our last 100 rounds and that has to last us for three months. it was just tragic because after all the blood and treasure that had been spilled to reach that
point, to have the u.s. betray -- and there is no other way to say it -- betray its allies in such a way was heartbreaking. it tested one's patriotism to be an american during that period to see what the effects of that congressional cut off was. >> that is what you witnessed in the summer of 74? john lehman: yes. >> we will return to this issue. two points from the earlier period. one, it may be apocryphal but can you recall, there was a story of how henry kissinger introduced you to rockefeller. [laughter] john lehman: yes. i had met rockefeller before. because he was his vice president so i attended meetings with him and so forth. one night, it was about 8:00 and
i went over to kissinger's office, my office was in the old executive office building across the street. i went over to the west wing to bring something henry asked for, a piece of paper. we were talking about it and nelson will rockefeller -- nelson rockefeller walked in. he and henry were very close friends. they got talking and rockefeller said, "i have to hire a new policy person, i've had such a hard time getting good staff. i read every day how you are having the sharpest staff ever assembled. the nsc staff is making all of the policy in town. where do you find all these good people?" kissinger looked at me and said,
nelson, you have this all wrong. look at lehman here, an irishman with a jewish name. if i have it the other way around i would really have something. [laughter] timothy: -- john: henry still has a wonderful sense of humor. it was a great experience working for him. because he had a terrible temper, but it was a great kind of safety valve. he would blow his stack and scream at you. five minutes later it was all over and he would go back to talking about the policy that you just recommended and have been screamed out for. so it was, i loved working for him. it was never a dull moment. he was a tough taskmaster.
but if you had a good idea he listened and it went forward. and that was really satisfying. dick allen was a terrific guy to work for as well. he had a similar sense of humor. and, but he was, i think henry had a little more kind of cynicism born of more experience and so forth. dick was still very much a he wanted to get things done, the right things. anybody that was not agreeing should be gotten out of the way. it was terrific, he was energetic and very bright. he really cut to the chase on
all of the difficult policy issues. i guess the biggest compliment that you could pay to him is the fact that henry felt that he was eventually -- potentially such an intellectual threat that he needed to be sent on to other things. >> you mentioned something as we started. who initiated the list of leaks? john lehman: there had been a series of newspaper articles one of which involved me. and i had, being in congressional relations, i could so much during that -- see so much during that period. anything that was embarrassing that came in as a classified cable from the embassy in saigon, or whatever, that would
cast the south vietnamese in a bad light or some investigation of two, or something like that would immediately come out and appear in the "washington post." we knew because reporters like guys like john osborne in the "new republic" and the guys covering the hill in the "washington post" were the guys printing the stories. so you knew where they came from. those guys inc. -- being pros, played both sides of the street . while they would not reveal their source they would reveal where the source was. we knew where the leaks were coming from and during a private party where a bunch of staff hill staffers, where.
i was decrying this ability to -- inability to maintain securities. i said fulbright and his staff were leaking things, anything that came to their hands that was embarrassing to the vietnamese or the nixon administration's effort. well, unfortunately that appeared in the "washington post" the next day. bill rogers, the secretary of state, whom i still have great admiration for, he was trying to build, as one must, with the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, a relationship with fulbright. so he met with president nixon in the oval office and said you have to get rid of this guy.
lehman, he is shooting his mouth off and this is so disruptive. there is no way i can go back to fulbright without saying we've done something. because we've got to build this relationship with bill fulbright. and mix in furroughed his brow. he said, henry, what do you think about this? and before henry could reply nixon said, i will tell you what i think. i think you should promote lehman tomorrow. i heard the story because i thought i was a goner.
because i have heard that rockefeller -- that bill rogers wanted to get, hand fulbright my scalp. afterwards al hague told me the story of what had happened in the meeting. but there was a growing paranoia about these leaks. and so i think, as i recall, the president asked kissinger and kissinger asked dick. although i am a little fuzzy on the chain. i know i got asked by dick allen to compile -- ok, you are getting headlines for saying they are leaking. show us the, where's the leak here? give us the citations.
so i compiled a whole list of dozens of newspaper articles based on classified information. and it was a very thick compendium. and i gave that to dick and then went in to the president and that led to, i don't know the exact sequence of who spoke to whom. but after that the plumbers were set up. so i guess it is kind of a historic document in that it is just a list of newspaper citations. >> this was and 69 -- and 69. -- in 69. wasn't this a problem for
kissinger when he came up for confirmation? wasn't there some concern about what questions may be asked about wiretapping? john lehman: i was still working for henry at the time. his chief legislative guide. it was tom and i who managed his confirmation hearings. i don't know whether the wiretapping issue had broken then. i don't recall it as having been a big issue in that confirmation hearing. i mean a lot of that didn't come out until later in the whole watergate sequence. i just don't recall. >> 73. some of that was already out.
john lehman: yeah, but whether -- and it wasn't henry who had ordered this. the later wiretaps, i don't think they are related to the taps were put on by the fbi that led -- that was the big issue. the cia and so forth. i don't recall that being a particular issue with henry in the confirmation. there are lots of other issues. right outside the caucus room is a men's room beside the elevator and so i was talking to kissinger during one of the breaks. he had to go in and use the head. and so he is standing there using the head and i'm talking to him, standing over by the sink. all of a sudden one of the stalls bursts the sky -- this
guy who rushes over and grabs kissinger on the shoulder and starts screaming at him, you are a murderer, you are responsible for millions of deaths and you killed -- i forget exactly what it was. and i was horrified. and i went over, ran over to grab the guy and pulled him away. henry was just as cool as a cucumber. he did not even break flow. he just kept right on, just as if he was what he was, a knot. -- nut. and he never flinched or stopped or anything. i pulled the guy away and henry finished doing what he was doing and went over and washed his hands. the guy was still screaming. yes, he was a cool customer. he was not easily flustered.
so i figured the rest of the hearings would be a piece of cake. but -- >> let's go back. i want to talk about cambodia in 1970, cooper church. you have a tremendously interesting description of that era. we will not have time to go into the details that -- but let's talk about it. what was the debate about letting congress in on the incursion before hand? john lehman: as i recall there was not much of a debate because at that time everybody in the white house was so convinced that anything given to congress would leak that the basis for going into the sanctuaries in cambodia was really the strong
strong recommendation of the chiefs, who had been chafing under seeing these sanctuaries where they could just dock -- duck over the border then regroup and store their supplies and have all their logistics and so forth. and certainly with kissinger's view and the presidents view that the vietnamese had to be given a chance, this was to be the last use as, they would be the american forces left before they all left shortly thereafter. so since it was military and not political, they believed they should keep it very tight and
not tell congress in effect. because they were sure it would leak and the north vietnamese would get the benefit as they had so often in previous military operations that had been leaked. as i recall, i do not recall any debate. certainly concerns were raised. this would exacerbate relations. with congress. but i think the president felt and kissinger felt this was a military and not a political operation. and so operational security had to take precedence over congressional relations, i think it was as simple as that. but i don't think anybody nobody i recall ever thought it would precipitate the kind of reaction in, not only in congress but in the public at large. that it did.
it led to kent state and all of these other things. and as a result i think that the president's advisers, the domestic advisers, holloman and ehrlichman, i was not in the meeting spot -- meetings but from the stories i had heard they had really panicked. particularly after kent state. and they convinced the president that he had to end the incursion to where the objectives were basically. but certainly was al haig's view and that was kissinger's view. there was great frustration that having taken the heat they pull add -- pulled back before the real benefits were achieved. there is no question the firestorm which erupted, i will
never forget that the white house at the time, they had to surround it with buses. bumper to bumper with buses that protect the white house from all of the demonstrators. and i will never forget, all of us on the nsc had to dress like we were part of the demonstrators to get in. otherwise you couldn't get through. if you dress like you were working at the white house you would never be able to get near the place. so we would go up and find a place that nobody was paying much attention. you literally had to crawl under the bus to get through. and on the other side quick show your white house pass before you get bludgeoned.
working at the old executive office building, you had to walk. they had national guard troops in the basement. sitting down in the basement. and you had to carefully walk through the weapons and legs to get through the elevator. that was everyday for, i do not know how many for 10 days or something. that is when nixon went to the monument to talk to some of the demonstrators. nobody expected that. nobody foresaw that there would be such a tremendous reaction. afterwards, when kent state happened it was understandable. before that the reaction was so strong that it surprised everybody. >> can you tell us a little bit about william rehnquist's role in fashioning the executive privilege? when congress reacted by pirate
-- trying to place limits. john lehman: yes, bill rehnquist was -- i forget the name of the exact title. but he was the general counsel in effect for the justice department. and so he and i really were the main task force to put together the congressional strategy and marshall the arguments on executive privilege. and bill really wrote the briefs on that. his view, his view of executive privilege has, i think withstood the test of time. the current administration would not like his views. and if you read those papers, i think he really understood there were clear limits on executive privilege and executive power.
but that those limits needed to be, the powers had to be actively defended all of the time, that there was no clear delineation between the executive powers and the legislative powers in these regards. and that the intentions of the framers were, they understood when you read the federalist papers that this would cause contention. and they purposely left it for politics to decide where the line was. there was no clear delineation. there were overlapping there are in the constitution overlapping powers over national security. and so it is left for them to decide. bill's view was always that it
was important for the executive branch to defend its authority in national security. but not to take it beyond what was clearly constitutionally envisioned. i was very impressed with his grasp of the issue and his willingness to speak up for the limits that really were there is every president would like to have no limits. and i think in the current administration and in the previous administration, the attorney general did not have the benefit of as good of advice as no rehnquist provided. because nixon never made the far-reaching claims to executive authority that have been made by some subsequent presidents. >> did you play any role in the safeguard in getting the
votes for the system? john lehman: very much so. i was involved in the safeguard system and all of the legislative battles we had. the trident, trident submarine -- that was as big a fight as the abm. and every issue was a big fight. and so, but again, we worked out of the headquarters was the vice president's office and scoop jackson's office. and john tower and the republicans, sort of their room was in the vice president's office. the jackson wing worked out of scoop jackson's office.
it was not republican/democrat it was the committee on present danger democrats aligned with the nixon administration, not on everything. but on these big boats like -- votes like abm trident merv, troop levels in europe, the mansfield amendment. in a way, it was a healthier kind of battle because it was not drawn along partisan lines the way it is today. >> did you know richard perle? john: i first met richard perle really outside of congress and the administration, at a conference at the big conference
center outside of washington. and i was very impressed. we spent a couple of days debating these issues and -- in this conference and we found ourselves on the same size of the issues, reinforcing one another. we got to know each other socially and, when i worked on the hill, i worked with him and dorothy bostic. he was really working for dorothy. and she was the main national security person on scoop's staff. scoop was so close to next and -- nixon on policy issues that we never did anything without basically clearing it with scoop. >> wasn't paul wolfowitz in that orbit as well? john lehman: paul was brought into the original orbit. this was a poker group including
george will and bill schneider. paul had not yet come into the scene. he was recruited later by freddie clay, when fred was appointed head of acta, and that was around 1972, 1973. paul, at the time, was at yale. on the faculty. our group -- bill schneider at the time worked for senator buckley, and george will worked for senator alan in colorado. and of course i worked for kissinger. we used to play poker regularly, and we were good friends, social friends. we worked together because these were all players on the hill.
in fighting these end war amendments, getting trident through, and so it was an initial -- it was an interesting time with interesting people. everybody is still involved one way or another. >> how did the poker group feel about s.a.l.t.? how it had been negotiated? john lehman: all of us were concerned about how it had been negotiated, how it had provided -- it had codified a disparate balance they gave the soviets and numerical advantage, they could be transmitted into political leverage. and kissinger knew of my views on it , and that is why he asked
me to negotiate, see if i could negotiate with jackson a deal to get jackson's support. and so that gave him plausible deniability. but everything i did with regard to offer and counteroffer, i cleared with henry and al haig because they wanted to get scoop to support it and, at the very least, not to block it. which he had the votes to do. >> the deal involved the trident, didn't it? john lehman: the deal involved the trident, the cruise missile, the commitment to go forward
with the tomahawk cruise missile , it involved -- there were a few other things. i think development of the b-1 bomber. because kissinger's argument for accepting this imbalance was, we don't have anything on the books. we inherited a bankrupt strategic system with no new initiatives, it is going to take us time to do this. so this will give us that time to redress the boundaries. -- the balance. and so jackson's view was, ok if that's what you say, show me the money. show me the commitment. show me the decisions that are going to make this real. and so that's really what the deal was. negotiated. that he would actually commit to do these things. and it is what lead to something
of a with jackson later on -- although a -- of a breach with jackson later on, because jackson signed on to salt 1, but in salt 2, jackson felt that henry, mrs. is years later in the ford administration, -- this is years later in the ford administration, had given away the tomahawks and the backfire issue that he had pledged in salt one to support to his dying day. so that was part of the rift. >> you didn't agree with kissinger's approach? john lehman: i certainly agreed with -- you know, kissinger has always wanted or been tempted to have
favor of both sides in these debates. and so he liked to have plausible deniability that he was really for tomahawk and pushing tomahawk and trident. so i was, in some ways, the sacrificial, i was the expendable person in that lehman, he made this deal with jackson, but i can assure you, i did no such deal without henry's blessing. and i thought that it was -- it was a good deal. in order to get a firm commitment for the trident and
the tomahawk, which i thought would be a tremendous benefit, i thought it was a good deal. i thought only the balance it was a good deal. -- on the balance it was a good idea. s.a.l.t. one, limiting us to two abm sites, excepting a three-to disadvantage, kissinger was right in that we had no programs underway to address that. -- redress that balance. so taking him on his word, it was the right thing to do. it was a good deal. >> slight question. i guess in july 1970, you were having these discussions with rehnquist about executive privilege. and the president goes out in a press conference and basically says "i am keeping troops there because of my need to protect
troops." which is a very narrow description of his ability to make policy. was kissinger upset that the president was going to make that narrow claim? john lehman: no. to my knowledge, this was something that came out of the domestic side of the white house. this was something that used to drive henry and al crazy. that very often, things would appear that did not come through kissinger. and obviously came through halderman or early when -- ehrlichman or the domestic sides of the house, or came from the state department, or somehow got into the president without going through kissinger's filter. and this was clearly one of them. because we felt that this was
going to lead to, politically was a really weak, almost laughable argument. that would be made. even though you could construct a legal basis around it, it just wouldn't sell from a public relations point of view. and so, you know, this is one of the times when kissinger used to just shake his head. and it was, one of the reasons we chafed the nsc staff for keeping us totally separate from the rest of the white house staff. you really -- he really felt that very strongly. keeping us out of the white house mess and that sort of thing. but he was right.
he said that these people are going to bring this president down. he said that in my presence couple of times. he really did not have much of admiration for the domestic the top domestic guys on the white house staff. >> can you talk about the complicated nature of president nixon? john lehman: i was not one of his drunken buddies. so he didn't let his hair down quite that way. i mean he would say things that were sometimes not complementary but overall everything he ever said in my presence about nixon showed a very genuine respect.
and as a kind of partner, he did not -- you know, he used to say things about everybody that could be taken out of context to be very unfriendly. there is no doubt in my mind that he had a deep respect for nixon's grasp of policy and his intellect. >> ok, last questions, quickly. how did the chilean action complicate relations for the administration? to what extent -- in those days, you didn't have oversight committees. you would tell the leadership about covert action, or maybe not. john lehman: the senior leaders of congress were kept in the loop. and in fact i negotiated the ground rules for the foreign
relations committee. on the most secret and sensitive stuff like at the time when the secret negotiations were going on in some of the intelligence matters. so there were always some people the top people, usually the speaker of the house, the senior republican, the chairman of armed services and formulations, they were briefed. they knew about the things. but there were no records kept there were no notetakers allowed. i went to most of those meetings. and in fact, we had several, particularly on the vietnam negotiations where we briefed the whole foreign relations committee. and no notes were taken, no staff was allowed except me and one foreign relations committee guy.
so they were kept in the loop, but it was the leadership that said you can't -- they were the ones who strongly advised not to generally brief the committees armed services and foreign relations. and take it wider than the top leadership. and by the way that was the traditional way was always done. >> were the briefed on chile? -- were they briefed on chile? john lehman: i'm sure they were. >> you mentioned that one of your strategies -- john lehman: we felt that the armed services committees was where the administration's supporters were. and that foreign relations had become, particularly during the
fulbright era, an era for public -- the sole forum for public debate in congress and televised hearings and so forth, and that we needed to build up armed services to at least an equal stature because they were basically where our supporters were. and that clearly that was where those who understood or specialized in and had more depth of knowledge of military and naval affairs work. -- affairs were. so that's what we did. we never briefed to the one without briefing the other. >> you talked about 74 and the consequences of the suspension of aid to south vietnam. you must have been working hard to keep that alive. did you do anything wrong you go would you do anything different? john lehman: the key juncture --
particularly with regard to cambodia, there was a proposal on the house floor and jerry ford was the republican leader and kissinger -- i arranged a call from kissinger to give with jerry ford to give ford the ammunition to block it. and the delicate thing we were doing here was kissinger had really made a deal with joann lie that there will be a negotiated settlement for cambodia, the chinese. the vietnamese -- would stop the vietnamese from supporting the khmer rouge.
because they did not want to become a rouge -- the, rouge -- the khmer rouge or especially for the vietnamese to get control of cambodia. this deal had been negotiated by kissinger. kissinger explained to ford over the phone -- a secure phone, i believe -- that this deal had been arranged for -- i forget the dates but it was like -- the debate was going on in may, he said, the agreement we have -- i can't tell you any more than this, but this problem will be solved by september or august. i forget the exact date. but he said, we cannot have -- you've got to stop this amendment, which was cut off all funds by july 30 or june 30, the end of the fiscal year,
something like that. so ford totally misunderstood and went out on the floor and said, i have just talked to the white house and they say they can live with the cut off that is after the date that henry had given him. so it just totally blew it because we had the votes. to block the amendment. and jerry ford gave it away. >> this was ain 73? john lehman: yeah. i'm not sure. was it 1973 or 1974? this was the cambodia amendment. this was to cut off support for cambodia, i'm fuzzy on the dates. and then yes, it would have been 1973, yeah. and so that was a key juncture.
but the reality, the larger picture was that watergate, we -- watergate, by then had so provoked the presidency that -- so crippled the presidency that we couldn't deliver the votes that we needed to prevent these cutoffs. whether tactically we did some wrong things, i do not know. the bottom line was that the president had lost all power by then. and his ability to block things, his ability to use the carrots and sticks that presidents have to deal with the congress was gone. and of course, the deal that henry had cut for the peace settlement with the north vietnamese also dependent on a strong president because it was dependent on a threat to resume
bombing if they violated the truce. and invaded the south. of course by 74, late summer before they knew that there was no way the president was going to resume any action in vietnam so they could move with impunity which they did and it would be funds cut off -- with the funds cut off it was handed to them on a silver platter. >> how would you compare and contrast the two white houses you worked in? nixon and reagan. john lehman: they are two very different people. nixon was very much involved in the details of national security , defense, foreign policy, and reagan was not. reagan really was a delegator.
there was never any question which way the compass was pointing. but for instance in the issue of these 600 ship -- the 600 ship navy, when there were efforts within the administration to reduce the size of the navy, cut the number of carriers, there was never any hesitation on reagan's part. he would listen to me, and he had hired me to do the navy rebuilding, and the other people on other parts of the staff, he wasn't interested in listening. he listened to the secretary of defense, but he always backs me -- backadd -- backed me up and every battle i was ever in. i think nixon was much more disposed to get into the details of every one of the battles, and
he was very good, because he had the depth and the experience space. but i think one of the things that led to his downfall was that it was obvious, he was fascinated by national security and foreign policy. he was totally bored by domestic policy and he really delegated the domestic policy to his subordinates in cabinet. you might say he was not minding the store to the extent he should have. because of his fascination with foreign policy and defense policy, which he was very good with. and so a lot of difference. i think that it was a lot easier, there was more openness in the reagan national security area, mainly because there was
never anybody in charge for a long period of time. in the reagan years, it was constantly changing a set of players. so the power did not reside in the national security advisor the way did during the next and ears. -- nixon years. everybody knew that kissinger was in charge for the nixon years. you went around him or through them at your own peril. i think a real problem with the reagan approach to the national security council and the national security advisor was at -- that there were so many changes and such a turnover in national security advisers. first it was dick allen leaving and then judge clark and john poindexter, mcfarland. all of them good people. but none of them had time to
build and hold a staff of the quality that could give the kind of coherence that kissinger and his staff did. and as a consequence, there wasn't nearly -- because of the turnover, not because of any inadequacy of individuals, but because of the constant turnover, it allowed a lot of independent scheming like oliver north. luckily, you had strong cabinet officers. and strong cia directors, strong secretaries of state, strong secretaries of defense, strong service secretaries. so you could say you need the kind of firm control that is injure asserted through --
kissinger asserted through the national security council. >> why did that jackson group turn against kissinger? because by the reagan era, they are decrying kissinger. john lehman: part of it was because they felt that in the s.a.l.t. ii, the effort to get s.a.l.t. ii, deals that were done under the next and -- nixon administration were not honored. specifically, the cruise missile, the tomahawk deal, the building of the -- the rebuilding of the navy. things like that. but a lot of it was, i think politics. and everybody, when carter won, many of the people, many of ford's people blamed it on
jackson blocking s.a.l.t. ii which they had high hopes would turn the tide in the election. i don't think that is the case at all. but many of the ford people blamed the effort to block salt ii as the reason that ford lost. >> you were not in the administration? john lehman: yes, i was. at the time of the s.a.l.t. ii agreement, i was the director of the arms control and disarmament agency. i was at the nsc meetings where they were blocked. and the blockers were basically jim holloway, who was the acting , the acting chairman of the joint chiefs, and donald rumsfeld. and i argued against it. but the weight of acta in the
scale was hardly very great although they were disappointed, and president ford particularly particularly chastised me at the meeting for not being an advocate of arms control. >> why did he -- mr. lehman: he first supported it but the chiefs convinced him that giving up the backfire and giving up cruise missiles especially tomahawks, was a bad trade. >> and you a great? -- agree? mr. lehman: i great. >> thank you for your time,. very helpful >> you are watching american history tv on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-spanhistory.
>> american history tv visited longwood university and farmville, virginia for a seminar the civil war. the program was cohosted by the university and appomattox courthouse park. next, tracy chernault, park director at petersburg national battlefield. he talks about the long standoff between lee and brent and the final battle in 1865. he discusses the importance of supply lines and the disparity between union and confederate armies' access to food and ammunition. the talk is about an hour. >> i want to introduce our first speaker of the evening. tracy chernault. we have programs out there, you can pick up the program. i will give an abbreviated version of the introduction the , bios we have in the programs.
tracy is a native of appomattox. he has a ba in history. he has worked for the national park service, first part-time and full-time starting in 1991 at appomattox court house national historical park. since 1997 at petersburg out of battlefield. he is the author of one of the volumes and the howard, virginia regimental history series. his deals with the 18th and 20th battalions of heavy artillery. he's past president of the lynchburg civil war roundtable. and the appomattox county historical society. his talk today will be on the fall of petersburg. please welcome tracy chernault. [applause] tracy chernault: good evening.